Fully wireless headphones is a completely new user experience. Already after the first day with these headphones starts to turn around from one thought of returning to conventional Bluetooth-models, not to mention wired. But what if you give a big amount for AirPods there is no desire? An affordable alternative is and, as it turned out, it is in many ways even better than AirPods! In this smart gadget review, we will introduce you to the InterStep SBH-520, whose price is pleasantly surprising.
Packing and equipment
Headphones InterStep SBH-520 are delivered in elongated rectangular packaging made of cardboard. The front of the box shows headphones and a charging case. On the back surface and on the side faces the technical characteristics are described.
Packing headphones is quite common, but its contents are not quite. In the plastic holder inside the box are headphones themselves, distributed over individual notches, a charging case, a micro USB cable for charging the station, detailed instructions and four pairs of replaceable ear cups with dimensions XS / S / M / L.
InterStep did not need to “shrink” and ear pads of different sizes for more comfortable listening go along with headphones.
Designers InterStep tried to keep the appearance of the headphones SBH-520 classic for completely wireless models, but dilute it with unique details. Volumetric capsule bodies have a decorative line in the middle, strictly decorated faces and a flat glossy insert with a pattern on the upper end.
Under the insert is a button for controlling music playback, which is also responsible for answering an incoming call or ending a call. The button is pressed with little effort, which eliminates accidental pressing.
Headphones are made of durable matte plastic, which does not crack and does not break even if you squeeze the capsules in your hand. When listening to music, headphones especially do not emit any extraneous sounds – the build quality is really high.
The headphones are available in four colors: white, black, purple and red. Color diversity is more than enough to choose a model for your style. White and black models are monochrome and the most stringent. They are best suited if you plan to use headphones often and under a variety of circumstances.
Purple and red models also allow you to stand out, for example, in a fitness club. In the pleasant colors painted the upper ends and earrings of colorful models, and the headphones are black.
How do they look in the ears?
Few will consider headphones on the table, where it’s more important how they look in the ears directly when used.
Externally, the headphones can seem quite massive, but even in a small ear-shell, they fit completely. Due to this, headphones do not bulge out of their ears, which leads to two obvious pluses in terms of appearance.
First, the headphones do not stick out of their ears, like two antennas. Users of many wireless headphones, the same AirPods, this is a real headache, since the headset can look stupid. In particular, if a person has a small and round face.
And secondly, InterStep SBH-520 is comfortable to use with a cap. The headpiece does not put pressure on the earpiece, as it is inside the ear. Due to this discomfort will not appear even with prolonged use.
So, in the ears, headphones look great, in large part due to its tight fit. If the headphones are a couple of millimeters thicker, there would be no similar effect and the capsule would clearly stick out.
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Setup – takes a few seconds
To start using headphones, you need to pair them with a sound source a smartphone or any other Bluetooth device. Synchronization is incredibly easy.
To turn on the headphones and put them into pairing mode, you just need to put the headphones in the charging case and open its cover. Immediately after that, the headphones are detected on the device and the possibility of pairing appears. All adjustment takes a few seconds. Of course, no “Chinese” – headphones are defined as a single whole, and not one by one. In quality headphones, this is not expected, but just in the case noted.
After the initial successful pairing, the headphones “memorize” the sound source and connect to it automatically again upon opening the cover of the charging cover. All subsequent pairings take place in 1-2 seconds, without serious delays.
You do not need to turn off the headphones in a special way. The headphones are automatically disconnected after being placed in the charging case and closing the lid. The same action instantly activates the charging of the headphones. If you forgot the charger case at home, you can still turn off the headphones. It is required to hold the button on the upper end and hold it for a few seconds. So it is necessary to make only on one earpiece, the second is disconnected after.
What about the technical part? InterStep SBH-520 supports the advanced A2DP audio distribution profile and the advanced aptX codec (aptX + is not supported), which makes the sound much more detailed and juicy. The frequency range is 20 Hz – 20 kHz, the sensitivity is 85 dB, the resistance is 32 Ohm.
How sound? Headphones provide clean, loud and surround sound with excellent detail. The sound is very smooth at all frequencies, but it seems that more emphasis is placed on the middle and low frequencies. Because of this, in some compositions, it can be seen that the upper frequencies sound dull compared to others.
The lack of support for the aptX + profile pulls the in-channel structure of the headphones. The sound fills the ears, even at maximum volume, and all extraneous noises are cut off.
What about the distribution of sound? Separately it is worth noting the support of the headphones technology Ture Wireless Stereo, which ensures the consistency of sound between the headphones. It is she who is responsible for the fact that the sound is correctly transmitted to the headphones. Music is played simultaneously without any delay.
The same technology correctly distributes the sound through the channels. If the song provides for the separation of sound, then it happens perfectly. We were fully convinced of this by listening to Queen – Bicycle Race and other Queen compositions, which are famous for the numerous transitions between the channels.
Sound on YouTube is not far behind? Many wireless headphones, including the same AirPods, have an extremely unpleasant problem – when watching videos with a resolution of HD or higher on YouTube, the sound lags behind the picture, sometimes significantly. We know this problem firsthand, so we tested InterStep SBH-520 when viewing a video as thoroughly as possible. There was no lag when watching clips, series, and movies on YouTube, perfect synchronization.
The claimed battery life of the InterStep SBH-520 is 4.5 hours in the music listening mode. Impressive for truly wireless headphones, but is this the case?
We conducted two full-time tests of the autonomous work time of headphones. In the first, music was played at maximum volume. In this mode, the headphones lasted almost 3.5 hours. During the second test, the volume of the music was set just above the average level. In sparing mode, which, by the way, is much closer to the real scenario of use, the headphones worked for 4 hours and 15 minutes.
Despite a slight deviation from the claimed figure, the battery life of headphones is excellent. In many ways, because in real life it’s rare when you need continuous listening to music for five or more hours. In addition, the charging case increases the battery life at times.